Coming up on October 31st is the third and Last Harvest of the 2021 autumn season. Although this holiday (which is also known by most as Halloween and by many as Samhain) is celebrated around the world by those that embrace the rich history of many traditions that originated in Paganism, most don’t realize that is what they are doing… or that this holiday carries special significance as the eve of the Day of the Dead when the veil is at its thinnest between our world and those that have passed.
Like with new moons and full moons, I usually do a spread to check in with myself and give myself some direction for the next couple of months for each solstice, equinox, and other Sabbats. This spread is an adaptation of my Self Care Saturday spread, so there are sure to be some similarities in how it is read. The focus of this spread, though, is not about Self Care, but rather about progress and my path. The time period is also longer, reaching through the next handful of weeks until the celebration of the upcoming Winter Solstice (aka. Yule) in December.
Theme of the Season – Samhain, Waning Crescent Moon, Berberis vulgaris (Barberry) – In my path, Samhain is not just a time to remember and pay our respects to our loved ones that have passed on, as well as reach out to them more easily… it is also a day that marks the end of the harvest season as well as the year’s cycle of seasons as a whole. The earth has gifted us with her abundance throughout the spring, summer, and fall and now settles in to rest throughout the colder months ahead.
Magically speaking, the moon’s waning crescent phase is a time of purging, severing, or otherwise cutting free things that need released and let go. This theme carries over into farming and gardening, where the waning crescent is a time of pruning and trimming, weeding, cutting timber, and other purging practices. This is the phase that the moon will be on during the night of Samhain, and as children reap in candies and treats, the magical and spiritual worlds will be in a phase of letting go and saying goodbye to those things that are no longer serving us.
Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) is primarily a digestive herb that is used to treat a wide variety of ailments that have to do with purging waste and toxins from the body. This includes not just treatments of the gastrointestinal tract, but also the liver and kidneys. In magic, it is used in spellwork that has to do with release, creating barriers, protection, and atonement.
When looking at these three cards together, the overarching theme that I see here is that this Samhain’s theme is all about releasing what isn’t working and letting go of the things that are holding you back.
Earth – Queen of Pentacles – The queen is a nurturing soul at heart, and is here as a reminder that you don’t need to beat yourself up over your mistakes. Just fix them. So you slipped on your self care. It happens. Now it is time to get back on track. Self flagellation will only exacerbate the problem.
Air – Knight of Wands – A breath of revitalizing fresh air is needed. Take some time before you leap forward into the fray, to ascertain what you want out of the next few months. Sit with it and work it out in your head before charge into action. Things pan out better when there’s strategy involved.
Water – King of Cups atop Seven of Pentacles – Seek out help from Gideon to help you better deal with slow growth as you move forward. Your patience sucks, but with his encouragement, you are better able to weather the “long game” a great deal better than you do on your own. Whether it’s his encouragement, or his providing you with a bit of distraction, in either both cases, it makes the slower growth of… well damned near all of your goals and desires… far more tolerable.
Fire – Seven of Wands – Once you’ve taken the time to figure out where you want to go and how you’re going to get there, stand strong on those goals. It’s hard to not get distracted, especially when there’s mental health issues involved like what you’ve been dealing with recently. Push back against obstacles instead of letting them trip you up.
Waning – Familiar – Stop ignoring the advice coming your way from your loved ones and spirit guides.
Waxing – Rest – You are going to have to take some time to get some true rest. Not the restless rest that you’ve been getting, but actual guiltless rest that will help recharge and recover before the holiday rush really swings into gear.
Take Away – It’s time to let go of self abuse and self sabotage. It’s time to allow yourself true rest, as well as the recuperation you need. Stewing and spinning your wheels is getting you nowhere and will tank everything you have been working for and want to happen. Use the tools and help that you have at your disposal to get you back on track.